After The Fights: UFC Santos vs Hill

What a night of fights! Out of all the fights, main card and prelims, not one went to the judges.

A new contender emerged in the Heavyweight division, and the winners of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter were crowned.

Two fights did not go ahead. Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan was cancelled; there has been no word if that fight will happen at a later date. Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira was moved to next weekend’s San Deigo card.

Jamahal Hill def Thiago Santos

A new challenger in the heavyweight division has arrived, and his name is Jamahal Hill. ‘Sweet Dreams Stadium’ (better known as the Apex) is a happy hunting ground for the Chicago native. Hill was taken into the championship rounds for the first time in his career and handled it well.

Santos proved that he still has some fight left in him. He did fight smart, mixing his stand-up with some good takedowns. It’s hard to know what Santos should do. He has only won one fight out of his last seven, so maybe taking time to see where he is at will be a good thing.

Fantasy Matchmaker: It’s a no-brainer; Hill needs to fight someone in the top 10. Even though he already has a fight, Volkan Oezdemir would be a good fight for Hill. Like Santos, Oezdemir is a former title challenger and made a triumphant return against Paul Craig. It will most likely depend on if he beats Nikita Krylov.

As for Santos, a match-up against Scotsman Craig mentioned would be a good fight.

Geoff Neal def Vicente Luque

Neal put forward an impressive performance to Beat Luque. ‘Handz of Steal’ not only won, but he stopped the durable Brazilian.

After a one-sided first round, Luque was able to make a comeback and make it a fascinating final round. However, Neal came out as he did in round 1, making sure it didn’t go to the judge’s scorecards.

Luque is now on a two-fight skid and will need to return to the gym and assess a few things.

Fantasy Matchmaker:  Neal called out Gilbert Burns after the win. It’s quite the step up in competition, but it’s a good call out. Burns seems to be a little preoccupied with Jorge Masvidal. Anyone in the top 10 would be suitable for Neal; maybe avenging his loss to ‘Wonderboy’ is on the cards.

As for Luque, he could have a trilogy fight with Belal Muhammed, but that may not be something the fans would like to see just yet. Sean Brady would be a good fight for him.

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Mohammed Usman def Zac Pauga 

Mohammed Usman is the Heavyweight winner of TUF season 30. The brother of Kamaru Usman pulled off an impressive knock-out over Zac Pauga.

Pauga won the first round, landed the crisper strikes, and controlled the Octagon. The second round was different, as Usman put Pauga to sleep with a nice left.

Fantasy Matchmaker: It will be exciting to see how the younger Usman goes in the promotion. He has heavy hands and good wrestling, maybe taking on UFC newcomer Hammy Abdelwahab.

Usually, those that make the finale get signed to the UFC, so Pauga may get a contract even with a loss. Maybe William Knight can welcome Pauga to the promotion.

Julianna Miller def Brogan Walker

There was a lot of bad blood in this fight. ‘Killer’ Miller was far too strong, imposing her will on Walker. If someone new were watching the fights, they wouldn’t have thought that Miller had the least experienced of the two.

Walker tried hard, but it just wasn’t her night. She may still get a UFC contract. As for Miller, she has a very bright future ahead of her.

Fantasy Matchmaker: The matchmakers will not want to throw Miller in the deep end. Mandy Boehm or Hannah Goldy will be the best ones to welcome her. As for Walker, Victoria Leonardo would be good as her first opponent.

Serghei Spivac def Augusto Sakai

It was a must-win fight for Sakai; he had lost three fights in a row. Unfortunately, Spivac made it four.

He survived into the second round, but the Brazilian was thoroughly out-classed by the Sambo practitioner. Spivac tool Sakai down at will, landing the cleaner strikes on the feet and ending the fight with a TKO.

Fantasy Matchmaker: The ‘Polar Bear’ will surely be a ranked fighter now, and his next fight should be against Blagoy Ivanov. As for Sakai, he should still get a fight but will need to win to keep his job. He should take on Jared Vanderaa.

Terrance McKinney def Erick Gonzalez

This fight was promoted to the main card due to the Lipski/Cachoeira postponement.

‘T-Wrecks’  made short work of his opponent again. McKinney got the first-round submission via rear-naked choke. He looked good doing it as well.

Fans have to tip their hat off to Erick Gonzalez; in his UFC debut, he took on veteran Jim Miller on short notice. He put a couple of good shots on McKinney but came up against a fighter on the rise.

Fantasy Matchmaker: McKinney called out Paddy Pimblett after his win, which is 100% the fight to make next for both Lightweights. As for Gonzalez, going up against a veteran like Clay Guida would be an exciting battle.

 

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill Preview

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It’s fight night at the Apex again (or, as it’s sometimes known, ‘Sweet Dreams Stadium) as two Light Heavyweights look to move up the rankings. Ultimate Fighter Alum Thiago Santos takes on a man who came up through the Contender Series, Jamahal Hill.

Champions of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter will be crowned. In the Heavyweight division, Kamaru Usman’s brother Mohammed will take centre stage, taking on Zac Pauga. In the Bantamweight division. Brogan Walker takes on Julianna Miller.

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill

Thiago ‘Murreta’ Santos vs Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill

This should be a cracking fight. A victory here for Jamahal Hill will get him one step closer to a title shot in a crowded division. Hill is ranked fifth, and a win over a former title challenger will help that cause.

Santos has been there before; he’s challenged for the title. The Brazilian will do anything to get back there, and Hill is standing in his way. Santos also sorely needs a win here; he has won only one fight in his last five. If ‘ Murreta’ is to make a charge for the title, a win is a must.

Both men have knock-out power, and the winner may come down to who strikes first.

Betting Odds on Neds: Thiago Santos $3.60 Jamahal Hill $1.30

Vicente ‘The Silent Assasin’  Luque vs Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neale

Luque will be looking to get back in the title hunt after coming off a loss to Belal Muhammed. ‘The Silent Assasin’ is a quality fighter who can put on a show on his day. He is very experienced and has been in the Octagon with the division’s best.

Neale will want to crack the top 10 at Welterweight, and both fighters share a couple of opponents. Beating Luque convincingly is what Neale should aim for; anything less is a disappointment.

Like the main event, this is also an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ vs ‘Contender Series’ fight; maybe we will see which is the better reality show at the end.

Betting Odds on Neds: Vicente Luque $1.52 Geoff Neale $2.55

Augusto Sakai vs Serghei ‘The Polar Bear’ Spivac

Like it has been said in this blog before, there is nothing like a Heavyweight fight.

Sakai’s back is against the wall; he must win this fight. Losing his last three fights, even if they were against top-tier competition, won’t help him. A veteran of MMA, before making it to the UFC via the Contender Series, Sakai fought in Bellator. His only loss came to former UFC fighter Cheick Kongo (he also had a draw).

Like his opponent, Spivac has also fought some of the best of the division and has even beaten them. It’s unusual to see someone with his fight experience not be ranked; maybe it’s because of a couple of losses to key opponents. Beating Sakai here should get him ranked.

Betting Odds on Neds: Augusto Sakai $3.45 Serghei Spivac $1.32

Ariane ‘Queen of Violence’ Lipski vs Priscila ‘Zombie Girl’ Cachoeira

The main card starts with a fight between two women who probably have the best nicknames in all of MMA. Fans should be treated to a knock-down drag-out fight.

The fight will be at a catch-weight; Lipski failed to make the Flyweight limit and has been fined 20% of her purse.

Both women are coming off a win; they want to keep their momentum going to make it two in a row. Lipski likes to come forward and is known as a striker, but she does have a few submissions on her record. Could this be the way to victory for the Brazilian?

Cachoeira, like Lipski is a striker. If there is one area where she is uncomfortable, it’s off her back. Cachoeira will want to keep the standing; Lipski has the better ground game.

Betting Odds on Neds: Ariane Lipski $1.53 Priscila Cachoeira $2.55

Note: The author hasn’t watched enough of the Ultimate Fighter to comment on the finalist’s journey.

 

 

 

UFC Fight Night Dos Anjos vs Fiziev Main Card Preview.

 

 

Former Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev will finally get the chance to throw down in the Octagon this Sunday, as the UFC presents Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev live from the APEX in Las Vegas.

The Co-Main event sees Caio Borralho take on Russian Armen Petrosyan. Aussie Jamie Mullarkey kicks off the main card, taking veteran Michael Johnson.

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Rafael ‘Ataman’ Fiziev

The grizzled veteran is taking on a man hungry for a run at the title; this should be an excellent main event. Both fighters have a familiar opponent in Renato Moicano, which Dos Anjos won via unanimous decision. Moicano did take the fight on short notice and showed the heart of a warrior. Fiziev, on the other hand, beat the Brazilian via a vicious KO in the first round.

If we were to go on that logic, we would all be putting money on Fiziev, but MMA doesn’t work that way. It’s the exact reason we watch it! Fiziev hasn’t lost since his debut fight and looks like a future challenger. A win here will see him a step closer to the title picture.

Any fighter who has won a championship would love nothing more than to be in the title picture again. After a mixed stint at Welterweight, Dos Anjos returned to Lightweight, racking up two wins since returning.

Fiziev has excellent stand-up, as evident by his win over Moicano and Brad Riddell. Dos Anjos is good on the feet, but he will need to take this fight down to the ground and work his ground and pound to be successful. This match should be the fight of the night too.

Betting Odds on Neds: Rafael Fiziev $1.46 Rafael Dos Anjos $2.70.

Caio ‘The Natural’ Borralho vs Armen ‘Superman’ Petrosyan

Both fighters arrived in the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series. Borralho has racked up three wins in a row, with two coming on the series. Technically, he is 1-0. His last fight was a technical decision win over Gadzhi Omargadzhiev.

After an impressive win on the series, Petrosyan backed it up by defeating Gregory Rodrigues via split decision. He is also technically 1-0. White must see something special in both of these fighters for them to be the co-main event after a combined five fights in the company.

Being a kickboxer, you know precisely where Petrosyan’s strength is. The Armenian racked up 70 wins in the art of eight limbs. He has spent time at Universal Fighters Gym in Dagestan and American Top Team, so his wrestling will be getting better.

Borralho was lucky to win his last fight,  beating Omargadzhiev with an illegal strike. Instead of being disqualified, it went to a judge’s decision, with the ‘Natural’ getting the nod.

While Barralho has good stand-up, there is no doubt that Petrosyan’s is better. To win this fight, he will need to take it to the ground as he did in his last fight. He has almost an Alex Pereira-like body, and those long limbs come in handy when grappling.

Petrosyan showed that he does have decent takedown defence, and while Barralho isn’t known for his wrestling, he will have to use that to keep the fight on the feet to win.

Betting Odds on Neds: Caio Borralho $1.44 Armen Petrosyan $2.80.

Douglas Silva De Andrade vs Said Nurmagomedov

These two Bantamweights should put on an exciting fight. Nurmagomedov has lost only one fight out of his last five. He made short work of Cody Stamann, finishing him with a nasty Guillotine choke.

Silva de Andrade was bloodied and battered in the first round against Sergey Morozov in his last fight. But like a true warrior, he came out in the second round to defeat Morozov via Technical submission (rear-naked choke).

On the feet, this should be a cracker. Silva de Andrade showed that he could take punishment and come back and win. Nurmagomedov didn’t get to show off a wide variety of his striking prowess, but that was because he just jumped on Stamann’s mistake.

Dagestan Fighters are on a different level regarding grappling, so Silva de Andrade will need to avoid the ground at all costs. Nurmgomedov may make it another quick night.

Betting Odds on Neds: Said Nurmagomedov $1.24 Douglas Silva de Andrade $4.00

Jared Vanderaa vs Chase ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Sherman

This fight is a must-win for Vanderra. He has won only won one of his last five fights. Dana White won’t be afraid to cut him if he doesn’t get the w.

Sherman is in a similar position, not winning a fight since 2020. This is his second stint with the company, and he may not get another chance to fight in the Octagon again.

Vanderaa had some decent moments and did show some ground skills against Aleksei Oleinik, but he made one mistake, and Oleink made him pay.

Alexandr Romanov outclassed Sherman from the opening bell on his way to a submission win. The fight before that was another submission loss to Jake Collier. Sherman tagged with some hard shots Collier, but once it went to the ground, it just went to shit for him.

This fight could be a slobberknocker, as there is nothing like two Heavyweights swinging for the fences. After his last two fights, Sherman will want to avoid the ground at all costs.

To be successful, Vanderaa should avoid brawling and take Sherman down.

Betting Odds on Neds: Jared Vanderaa $1.50 Chase Sherman $2.60

Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes

A loss here for either woman is not the be-all and end-all; it won’t be good news for either of them. Calvillo has lost three in a row, and Nunes has lost two in a row.

Nunes should take a page out of Andrea Lee’s book and set a relentless pace from the start, and she did that against Loc. Her wife, former champion Amanda Nunes will have her prepared, even though she has her fight to prepare for.

Calvillo should watch Nunes’s last fight against Mackenzie Dern as to how she can end the contest early. Doing that would not be a bad thing; she took a lot of damage in her last fight.

The game plans for both fighters should be simple, but as the great Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Betting Odds on Neds: Cynthia Calvillo $1.67 Nina Nunes $2.20

Jamie ‘Hooligan’ Mullarkey vs Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson

Aussie fighter Jamie Mullarkey kicks off the main card, taking on veteran Michale Johnson. Johnson is the perfect fight for Mullarkey to get back in the win column. He made a reasonable effort against Jalin Turner but couldn’t overcome the rising Lightweight star.

After a four-fight losing streak, Johnson got a KO win over Brazilian Alan Patrick. It was nice to see; another victory like that will see Missouri native stay in the UFC. A loss here, and we may see him pop up in one of the Bare Knuckle promotions.

Mullarkey will need to watch the southpaw’s left; Johnson has plenty of power in it, as evident in his fight with Patrick.

Mullarkey is no slouch in the power department; He knocked out Khama Worthy in 46 seconds; however, he may not be able to KO Johnson, so he must be prepared to go three rounds.

Betting Odds on Neds: Jamie Mullarkey $1.44 Michael Johnson $2.80.

Enjoy the fights.

 

UFC Fight Night Dos Anjos vs Fiziev Fight Card

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UFC returns to the APEX this Sunday as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev. The fight was supposed to be in February, but Fiziev got COVID. The co-main event sees Caio Borralho squaring off against Armen Petrosyan.

Aussie fans are also catered for as standout Welterweight Jamie Mullarkey is on the main card, fighting veteran Michael Johnson. Mullarkey’s UFC record currently is 2-3, and his last fight was against an emerging Lightweight in Jalin Turner.

 UFC Fight Night

Main Card:

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Rafael ‘Ataman’ Fiziev

Caio ‘The Natural’ Borralho vs Armen ‘Superman’ Petrosyan

Douglas Silva De Andrade vs Said Nurmagomedov

Jared Vanderaa vs Chase ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Sherman

Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes

Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson vs Jamie Mullarkey

Preliminary Card

Aiemann Zahabi vs ‘Pretty’ Ricky Turcios

Antonina ‘La Pantera’ Shevchenko vs Cortney ‘Cast Iron’ Casey

Cody Brundage vs ‘Mr Vicious’ Tresean Gore

David Onama vs Garrett Armfield

Kennedy ‘African Savage’ Nzechukwu vs Karl ‘Baby K’ Roberson

Ronnie ‘The Heat’ Lawrence vs Saidyokub Kakhhramonov

The card starts at 8 a.m. Sunday morning in Australia, fans can watch it on UFC Fight Pass or ESPN.

 

 

 

UFC 276 Main Card Preview

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This weekend the UFC presents UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier from Las Vegas’ T Mobile Arena. It will be a sound card for Australian and New Zealand MMA fans to watch as four oceanic fighters are taking part.

I am diving back into the world of MMA blogging/journalism. Before I became a journalist, MMA blogging was where I started, so I’m happy to devote some time to it again and watch some fights.

Let’s have a look at the Main Card:

Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz vs ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley

This should be an exciting fight, as the smaller weight divisions usually are. Munhoz is on a two-fight skid and needs a win if he wants to climb the Bantamweight ladder. Both fighters’ last fight was on the same card, UFC 269. On that night, Munhoz lost to former Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz. In that fight, Munhoz Dropped Cruz twice in the first round but would go on to lose the battle via unanimous decision. O’Malley would do much better, defeating Raukian Paiva via TKO. Pavia found success with calf kicks during the first round but was knocked down by a right hand. O’Malley finished him off for the win.

O’Malley fights similar to Munhoz’s last opponent Dominick Cruz. He moves around a lot, switches stances, and is taller than Cruz, which will trouble Munhoz. O’Malley will need to watch the leg kicks; that was where Munhoz had some success early. O’Malley’s reach will worry Munhoz, so he will have to eat a punch to try and close the distance and land his big punches. A good fight to start the card.

Betting Odds on Neds: Sean O’Malley $1.33 Pedro Munhoz $3.25.

‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler vs Bryan ‘Bam Bam’ Barberena

This fight is going to be a slobberknocker. Anyone who has followed Lawler’s career knows precisely what he brings to the table. He loves to throw down with anyone willing to trade blows with him. I haven’t seen many of Barberena’s fights, but the one I have seen was just a downright brawl against Matt Brown.

I could say that Lawler needs to use his wrestling or that Barberena needs to mix up his striking, which he didn’t against Brown, but I think I will enjoy these two going hammer and tong for 15 minutes.

Betting Odds on Neds: Robbie Lawler $1.83 Bryan Barberena $1.98

Sean Strickland vs Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira

Whether you like him or not, Sean Strickland can fight. He does carry on a bit outside the Octagon, but you will watch him win or get knocked out; either way, you’re watching him. Strickland’s last start was a split decision win against Jack Hemansson in the main event in February. He has won six fights in a row and, going off the 276 press conference, the champ firmly in his sights.

Alex Pereira is the man who beat Israel Adesanya in Kickboxing. He has a lengthy record in that sport and was a champion. In MMA, Pereira is 5-1, losing his first fight, and his last fight was a unanimous decision win against Bruno Silva.

Though he is a decorated striker, Pereira is very early in his career, and this fight will make him, but it may not necessarily break him. A dominant win will see him possibly moving closer to facing an old foe. Strickland will need to take it up gear from his last fight if he is to emerge as a title contender and dominating the man who beat the champ will get him closer to that fight.

Betting Odds on Neds: Sean Strickland $1.80 Alex Pereira $$2.02.

Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski vs Max ‘Blessed’ Halloway

If Halloway’s mood at the press conference is anything to go by, he is ready to regain the Featherweight title he feels he never lost. This fight was inevitable; everyone from UFC president Dana White to fans felt like Halloway won the second fight. Volkanovski will want to put those naysayers in their place. He is the reigning and defending champion.

Since that last win against Halloway, Volkanovski has beaten Brian Ortega and ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung and looked great in getting the TKO win. Like the Aussie, Halloway has looked good in his last two fights, which were unanimous decision wins over Calvin Kattar and Yahir Rodriguez.

If Halloway wins this, we might have to go to a best of five series for the first time, but I don’t think Volkanovski will let that title go. He will make the proper adjustments from the last fight and be sure he is not in a position to lose. Halloway will undoubtedly bring it and believes he didn’t lose those two fights. This fight should be fireworks.

Betting Odds on Neds: Alexander Volkanovski $1.50 Max Halloway $2.55.

Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya vs Jared ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier. 

Adesanya is on his way to cleaning out the Middleweight division. Other than the unfortunate move up to Light Heavyweight, he has beat everyone put in front of him. His striking is on another level. Sometimes he likes to play with his opponents, which has led to strange fights, but his talent was never questioned.

Cannonier has looked good since moving down to Middleweight. He was once fighting in the Heavyweight division, knocking people out. He only has one loss at that weight class, and that is to the second-best Middleweight in the world, Robert Whittaker. If he can put a good shot on the champ’s chin, it may be ‘Good Night Irene’, but that’s easier said than done.

Cannonier looked great against Derek Brunson, knocking him out with vicious elbows. To beat Adesanya, he will have to get him down and do the same, and Adesanya needs to use distance and pinpoint accuracy to get the job done and retain his title.

Betting Odds on Neds: Israel Adesanya $1.22 Jared Cannonier $4.20.

Enjoy the fights on Sunday.

UFC 276 Fight Card

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It’s fight week again, with UFC 276 in Las Vegas this weekend. There are two title fights on the card, with Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ defending his Middleweight title against Jared ‘The Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier.

The Second title fight will see Featherweight champion Alex ‘The Great’ Volkonovski taking on Max ‘Blessed’ Halloway. This is the third meeting between the pair, with most people saying that Halloway won the last match.

Also, Sean Strickland steps into the Octagon to face Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira, and ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley looks to move closer to a Bantamweight title shot as he fights Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz.

Lauren Murphy is out of her fight with Meisha Tate due to an undisclosed reason. The preliminary card starts in Australia at 8 a.m. AEST on ESPN or UFC Fight Pass. The main card begins at noon; if you watch it on Pay TV or Kayo, you must change it to Main Event. If you’ve ordered it on Fight Pass, you can watch it.

UFC 276

Main Card

Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier

Alex Volkanovski vs Max Halloway

Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira

Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley

Preliminary Card

Brad Riddell vs Jalin Turner

Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barberena

Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green

Jim Miller vs Donald Cerrone

Uriah Hall vs Andre Muniz

Jessica Eye vs Maycee Barber

Brad Tavares vs Dricus Du Plessis

Jessica-Rose Clark vs Julija Stoliarenko